Author Phil Hanrahan likes to talk about the year he spent in and around Green Bay doing research for Life After Favre: A Season of Change with the Green Bay Packers and Their Fans. After home games, he'd grab a table near the window in Curly's Pub, the sports bar located inside Lambeau Field overlooking the players' parking lot.
Emerging from the locker room, these world-class athletes would tentatively negotiate the slippery surface, skating forward, their arms outstretched to provide balance. But one player made the journey confidently each time, practically "dancing" across the ice. Aaron Rodgers looked like he was born and bred in the icy climate, not Chico, Calif.
That adroitness has been very much in evidence this season. Rodgers leads the NFC in passing yards and has just five interceptions in 10 games, ironically second only to Minnesota's Brett Favre. His 102.6 passer rating is fourth best in football, behind only Favre, Drew Brees of New Orleans and Peyton Manning of Indianapolis.
What makes these stats even more impressive is that Rodgers also has a league-leading 43 sacks.
This week, Rodgers played his best game of the year with 344 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions against San Francisco. But he was pushed out of the limelight by Detroit's Matthew Stafford, his rival on Thanksgiving Day, who fired a game-winning touchdown pass with an injured shoulder against the Cleveland Browns.
Stafford deserves the accolades. But let's give Rodgers credit for being the kind of tough, efficient, drama-free quarterback the league's smallest market deserves.